Kenya reports eight new COVID-19 cases, total number hits 15

Kenya’s Health Cabinet Secretary (front) addressed journalists in Nairobi on Sunday, March 22, 2020, flanked by other Cabinet Secretaries and government officials. /PHOTO: Kenya Health Ministry – Twitter

Kenya has reported eight new COVID-19 cases, bringing the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 15, according to the Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe.

“Out of the latest eight cases, five are Kenyans and three are foreign nationals. The foreign nationals are two French people and one Mexican. All the eight are imported cases from Europe and America,” Kagwe said in a press briefing in Nairobi on Sunday.

The Cabinet Secretary made the announcement as he laid out new regulations in a bid to contain the spread of the disease.

Among the new regulations laid out include, the suspension of international flights starting Wednesday 25 March and the arrest and prosecution of people who flout a mandatory quarantine period.

“All persons who violate the self-quarantine requirement will be forcefully quarantined at their cost and thereafter arrested and charged,” Kagwe said during the briefing.

The Cabinet Secretary also announced a closure of all pubs effective Sunday night, as the country strives to enforce social distancing among its citizens.

The move follows what he terms as flouting of regulations, forcing the government to enlist the assistance of the National Police Service to enforce them.

“We have noticed that majority of our people have continued to ignore our measures, continuing as if it is business as usual. We must treat this matter with the seriousness it deserves,” the minister stressed

Kagwe also announced a ban on social and religious gatherings, including churches and mosques.

Kenya is among 41 African countries that have reported cases of COVID-19. The continent’s confirmed cases have surpassed the 1,000 mark, prompting drastic measures by governments, including the closures of airports and the imposition of total lock downs.

“We remain focused on emphasizing high levels of hygiene and the maintenance of social distance as the most effective containment measures,” Kagwe said.